When I began writing Forging the Blade, the concept of character development was a total mystery to me. All I knew was that I had this teen- age girl in my head that wouldn’t go away, but steadfastly refused to give me any helpful hints about who she was. When I would ask, all I got was a petulant, “You know who I am, write the freakin’ book.”
Our twin boys had just graduated from high school, and I had watched, listened, and learned as they went from freshmen to seniors. Fortunately they were (and still are) bright, confident, adventurous, active, and healthy. But they are also impulsive, assertive, and self contained; with tempers that occasionally flair up. OK, this is a personality type that I knew and had been dealing with for years. Could I make Molly—that was definitely her name— a female version of my kids?
“Yes,” she replied, “I’m like them, but I’m not them.”
Fair enough. Todd and Ian are like each other, but they are definitely not each other.
And then my astrology brain kicked in. I realized that the best way to envision 3 people who were like each other but not each other was to give them all the same chart, or at least the same sun, moon, and ascendant. These are the three biggies in any natal chart.
- The sun sign, the sign that the sun was in at the time of birth, defines the person’s identity and sense of self—their ego.
- The moon sign determines how the world feels to them, how they react to it emotionally and unconsciously—their soul.
- The ascendant, the sign just coming up in the east at birth, is the shorthand that they use to express their personality to the world—their mask.
Molly, Ian, and Todd have:
- An Aries sun, which makes them high energy and assertive. They need to be doing things, discovering things. They tend to treat the world as if it were made just for them.
- A Sagitarius moon, which means the world feels like a place that needs exploring, there is a desire to reach out with their heart and soul and experience and understand life beyond their immediate surroundings. They take setbacks and events philosophically.
- A Scorpio ascendant, which means that the mask they present to the world, that distillation of their personality, is one of intensity, a willingness to cut through the niceties, conventions, and bullshit, and get to the heart of the matter. This often makes them seem dangerous and edgy.
The three together make for an exuberant optimism coupled with a very rare, but vicious temper that passes quickly with no grudges held.
As an astrologer, I know these things about Molly, and when she’s faced with a situation, she must react within these parameters or she’s not being herself.
In other words, keeping her sun, moon, and ascendant in mind helps me keep her character consistent.
I’ve also done this with the other main characters in Forging the Blade:
Asmodius: Scorpio sun and moon, Leo ascendant
Estelle Adair: Capricorn sun, Scorpio moon, Libra ascendant
Tamerlane: Virgo sun, Capricorn moon, Aries ascendant
If you look up the description of each sign and put it in the context of each character’s sun, moon, and ascendant and it will tell you quite a bit about that character.
Or better still, do this for your own sun, moon, and ascendant.
It will help you understand yourself.